Alvaro Martinez



Álvaro Gabriel Martínez Céspedes

Born January 29, 1985 in La Paz, Bolivia. Resident in Berlin since September 2016. Married, one child.


March 2020

Exhibition Design

Certificate Course

Modul 1: Exhibition Design

Berlin Career College der Universität der Künste

June 2019

Approaches and Methodology of Ethnographic Research

Postgraduate Diploma

Universidad Católica Boliviana 

July 2017

Licentiate in Anthropology 

Thesis: “Symbol in rituality in the healing process of soul diseases in La Paz, Bolivia.” (95/100 points) See abstract 

Universidad Católica Boliviana

Ethnographic Fieldwork between June 2015 – September 2016 (15 months) in La Paz-Bolivia

Oct. 2014

Contemporary Character Design and Art

The Pictoplasma Academy of Berlin


Advanced courses in Graphic Design

Module 1: Editorial Design

Module 2: Publicity Design

Instituto Atenea, La Paz-Bolivia

2007 – 2009

Private art studies in the atelier of sculptor and painter Windsor Vargas Moreno.

Atelier Windsor Vargas Moreno, La Paz-Bolivia

Work experience

May 2021-August 2022

Scientific assistant responsible for the digitalization and visualization of the project “Ageing in a Time of Mobility”.

Max Planck Institut for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

October 2017 – May 2021

Art Director. Project: “Medienwerkstatt Encounters”

Stadtbibliothek Tempelhof/Schöneberg, Mauerpark Institut e.V.

May 2018/June-July 2019/ September 2020

Workshop convenor “Picturing Encounters 2018/2019/2020 and exhibition curator – “A workshop for storytellers and illustrators” followed by an exhibition in a gallery and public libraries.

Stadtbibliothek Tempelhof/Schöneberg, Mauerpark Institut e.V.

Since Dec. 2019

Visual advisor, web designer and member of the scientific Working Group “Public Anthropology”

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial -und Kulturanthropologie / Freie Universität Berlin

Since January 2018

Artistic consulting and creation of the promotional material for the concert series:

2018, “Unter Gleichem Himmel” in Berliner Dom

2019 Strasbourg, France

2022 “Concert Ukraine” in Berliner Dom.

The Diplomatic Choir of Berlin. German Foreign Office

November 2017

Illustrations for the theater play “Vatersprachmusik” from Director Isabella Sedlak

Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin

2015 – Sept. 2016

Illustrations for primary school textbooks

Editorial Santillana

August 2016

Co-Creation of the graphic image for the XXI International Book Fair of La Paz-Bolivia

Cámara Departamental del Libro de La Paz

March – Oct. 2015

Artistic consulting, Social Media and creation of the promotional material of the project “Roland Barthes Amateur” for the Roland Barthes Year

Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Instituto de Investigaciones Literarias (ILL)


2012 – Dec. 2016

Product and Character Designer. Co-founder of the start-up Mundo Rokooko

Illustrator, Character Designer, Toy designer

Mundo Rokooko

2009 – 2012

Director and founder

Spanish language school for travelers “Pico Verde languages


June 2022

Co-author of the book: What happens when we meet? Encounter as a method of cross-cultural learning

Waxmann Verlag

August 2021

Encounter magazine, third edition – concept, layout, design, illustration – Cover illustration

Medienwerkstatt Encounters, Stadtbibliothek Tempelhof/Schöneberg

February 2020

Encounter magazine, second edition – concept, layout, design, illustration 

Medienwerkstatt Encounters, Stadtbibliothek Tempelhof/Schöneberg

October 2018

Encounter magazine, first edition – concept, layout, design, illustration

Medienwerkstatt Encounters, Stadtbibliothek Tempelhof/Schöneberg

January 2019

Illustration for the article “The art of studying the BureaucraTree”.

Published in the volume “The Art of Bureaucracy” in honor of Prof. Dr. Thomas Bierschenk


Graphic novel adaptation of the novel “La Chaskañawi” as part of the project “Novelas fundamentales de Bolivia del Siglo XX”, with author Mirka Wanda Slowik.

Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz


16 -17 May 2019

Speaker at the Colloquium “Exploring the ecologies of mind in (mental) health: eco-pathologies and onto-politics of healing economies”.

Workshop of the AG Medical Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin

11. July 2019/ 17. September 2020

Curator of the exhibition “Picturing Encounters” at the Mittelpunktbibliothek Schöneberg “Theodor-Heuss-Bibliothek”. 

Medienwerkstatt Encounters

May 2016

Collective Exhibition “We Dance Like Monsters”.

Artwork: “Monster Matrix”

Pictoplasma Festival Art, Aquabit Gallery, Berlin

May 2015

Pictoplasma Festival graduating class Pictoplasma Academy 2014, Collective exhibition. 

Artwork: “Jiwata”

Urban Spree Art Space, Berlin


November 2021

Commendation AVA 2021 – Award for Best Visual Ethnographic Material Addressing Ageing and the Life Course 

AVA 2021- Official Selection

AGENET – The EASA´s Age and Generations Network

December 2016

Selected for the Iberoamerican Biennial of Design with the project Mundo Rokooko

5a Bienal Iberoamericana del Diseño, Madrid

February 2016

Scholarship for best Anthropology Student (Semester I-2016).

Universidad Católica Boliviana


Spanish (Mothertongue)

English (Fluent)

German (Very good)


Adobe Indesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Lightroom, WordPress, Elementor, Zbrush, Procreate, Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Power Point.

Symbol in rituality in the healing process of soul diseases in La Paz, Bolivia

In my thesis I researched a healing technique through rituality and use of symbols developed by the inhabitants in the surroundings of La Paz-Bolivia. Ritual and medical specialists in this region have an understanding of the human being in a holistic and complementary manner. The human, the non-visible beings (spirits) and their ecosystem are perceived as one entity where the balance has to be preserved through reciprocal relations. The violations of normative including this reciprocal norm will conduct very often to a state of sickness or weakness.

Medical and Ritual Specialists are the people in charge of maintaining the balance between the different spheres of the universe. They read the coca leaves, the cards, or the drawings made by their patients to discover the causes of the unbalance. When this is discovered, then a healing technique has to be applied. This techniques are varied but among all of them the koa is the one in which this research is focused on. The koa consists in an offering of a mesa (a preparation of a dish full of symbols and, among others, a death llama fetus) to the spirits at a sacred place.

From the deep case study of one of these specialists, Don Gonzalo Ávila, and the analysis and study of many other specialists and related practices, this research examines the use of symbols as a technique of healing through the koa, the reading of coca, cards and drawings, and the use of talismans and miniatures.